Barcelona city guide – discover gigs, parties and events:
Duolingo is a fantastic free app for learning languages. Just 5 minutes a day is all it takes to understand the basics before your travel. Click here to see their Spanish course.
As a gluten-free traveller, I recommend using this handy Spanish restaurant card by Coeliac Travel when querying gluten-free options on a menu. Click the image to visit their website.
Why you will love Barcelona
I have to limit myself to visiting Barcelona every second summer because I would never go anywhere else! The Catalan capital feels like Sydney in Europe – the perfect example of a seaside city: big but not too crowded (by a Londoner’s standards anyway), spreading out of the central area to a number of really interesting districts, such as up-and-coming Poble-Sec, lefty heaven Gràcia and Dalston-like El Raval (which is where I prefer to stay). In the summer it is hot and cheerful, saturated with colour and sunshine. It would be hard to ever grow bored of this beautiful city.
Things to watch out for in Barcelona
Airports – be careful to check which airport your flight lands at before you book. The main airport, Barcelona International Airport (or El Prat, airport code: BCN), is only 13 km south-west of the city centre and is the best option. Some budget airlines like Ryan Air don’t always fly to this airport but use Girona (airport code: GRO) or Reus (airport code: REU), which are both over 100km from the city and can add greatly to the time and cost of your trip.
Pickpockets – Apparently, Barcelona is pickpocket capital of the world – and spending a day of your holiday at the police station is not much fun. My recent trip saw me targeted 3 times by thieves who managed to open my bags in public. So make sure you bring a day bag with inaccessible pockets!
Las Rambla – stretching from Plaça de Catalunya down to the sea, this is tourist central and should be avoided at all cost. It is swarming with people and terrible microwaved paella cafes, making it a pretty horrible experience of the capital and total pick-pocket central.
No Uber – yup, it is currently banned but the taxi’s in the city are much more affordable than say London or Paris, so it’s not that different/expensive to use a local service.
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